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Treetop Town

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“In the lofty treetops of Donkey Kong Country, you'll find a deserted town of wooden plataforms and huts, origin unknown.”
Donkey Kong Country instruction booklet.

A village built, as the name suggests, entirely out of treehouses. Rope bridges typically connect the structures to one another, and ladders are typically used to access the community from ground level. Dangling creepers may also be used for transport.

A common form of Bamboo Technology, although more magical versions can be seen as well. This can often be found within the Enchanted Forest and the Hungry Jungle.

Wood elves are frequent inhabitants of such a place, and it has become an often-used version of the Hidden Elf Village. Often, undying or otherwise long-lived elves may outlive the trees and have to relocate every few decades or centuries. In other cases, winged creatures such as Bird People may make their homes among the boughs — the gaps between trees aren't a significant issue if you can fly, after all. Monkeys, monkey-people and similar arboreal beings are also likely to be found in towns like these.

Natives of these settlements may be isolationists seeking to avoid the attention of other people by raising their cities above where they could be stumbled into and hiding them within the canopy. In other cases, these may be built in areas where staying on the forest floor is dangerous, such as in wildernesses teeming with predators.

In some cases, such as when the town's builders are very small or the trees very large, an entire city may be built within the branches of a single tree.

Compare Treehouse of Fun and Arboreal Abode. Tree Trunk Tour is the sister trope that takes place in the trees instead of on them. For a more extreme variant, where entire civilizations can exist purely within tree canopies, see Treetop World. For the logical extreme, see World Tree.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest: When living in the woods the Wolfriders live in magically hollowed-out trees. While living on an island with lots of very tall trees and wishing to keep their existence concealed from humans, they have their dens hollowed out in the treetops.
  • Jimmy Olsen: Habitat, from the Jack Kirby run on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. It was inhabited by a biker gang by the time Jimmy and company stumbled across it, but it was built by The Hairies, youthful super-geniuses created by a secret government genetic engineering project.
  • Mampato: Ferjus' kingdom. However, it's not in several tree tops, but rather in just one big tree.

    Fan Works 
  • A Dragon in Shining Armour: In the sequel, Holy War, the city of Evergrowth is a Layered Metropolis version of this. The upper level of the city is just below the canopy and home to the city's businesses and government functions. Stairs that wind around the enormous trees the city is built around lead to the forest floor where the residential parts of town are.
  • Keskiyönnon: The titular city is a Mouse World version of this, having been built by the ancestors of the Breezies — tiny, fairy-like insect-winged ponies somewhat smaller than a songbird — within the boughs of a large oak, where they lived within towers woven out of thin branches and shared the tree with another species that lived in wasp-like hives.
  • Off the Line: The town of Elder Tree is built on a single massive tree with bridges connecting individual branches.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An Empress And The Warriors: The titular Empress, Fei-er, is rescued from an ambush by Duan Lan-quan, a Robin Hood-esque warrior living in the jungles, who then takes her to his secret treetop hideout. Late into the film several assassins try to infiltrate the forest, leading to Fei-er and Lan-quan fighting enemies on treetop catwalks and suspended corridors and several enemies falling to their deaths.
  • Avatar: The Na'vi's village is built within the hollow trunk of an immense tree.
  • King Solomon's Mines: In the remake, there is a tribe of people who live entirely in the trees, never touching the ground.
  • Quest of the Delta Knights: The fey, mask-wearing bandits have a hideout consisting of a bunch of rope bridges and wooden platforms. When the heroes escape from their flimsy jail cell, they get chased around and around the set ad nauseum.
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: The outlaws and their families dwell in one in Sherwood Forest. And they build a network of ladders and bridges among the trees so they can go up high instead of simply living among the trees like in most Robin Hood stories.
  • Star Wars:
    • Return of the Jedi: The Ewoks' village is built in the canopy of one of their world's vast forests, with rope bridges connecting its homes and platforms. While, unlike the much larger Wookiees, Ewoks aren't particularly adapted for tree-dwelling and would've been unable to do so before they developed rudimentary technology, the Expanded Universe shows that the forests of Endor have many predators and that the diminutive Ewoks build their homes in trees to stay out of their reach. Given the size of some of the local predators, this takes some doing — Goraxes, for instance, are big enough to easily pull down huts built in a tree's lower branches.
    • Revenge of the Sith: The Wookiee homeworld, Kashyyyk, is covered in global forests of mile-tall trees, and all Wookiee cities are built in their canopies, far above the lightless forest floor. Revenge of the Sith shows that there are portions of Kashyyyk (along coasts, for example) where the trees are lower to the ground, but Wookiees are arboreal by nature (for example their hands and feet have retractable claws specifically adapted to climbing trees) and don't want to live on the ground even if they can (another contrast to the Ewoks).

  • Books of the Raksura: The protagonist's colony moves into an abandoned base in a miles-high Mountain Tree, far above the ground. It's so vast that most of the rooms are grown into the tree itself, small forests of regular-sized trees grow on the branches, and the colony has no need whatsoever to visit the ground.
  • Broken Ring: Caer Shamine, in the elven forest, is a small city entirely set within trees.
  • Burying the Shadow: Taparak, which is built into a petrified forest. The community does start at ground level, but the more affluent a person is the closer they live to the sky.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Oompa-Loompas lived in these back in Loompaland, to afford them some protection against their homeland's various nasty predators.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: In Pryan, a world covered by rainforests miles in height, the elves prefer to build their cities among the very tops of the world-jungle’s canopy, with homes and shops built on the larger branches and connected by mazes of rope bridges, in contrast to the humans (who mostly settle the moss plains stretched between the giant tree limbs) and the dwarves (who inhabit cities carved into the trunks of the trees much deeper down).
  • Dinotopia: Treetown is a complex of wooden houses, platforms, bridges and ladders built in the canopy of an oak forest and high enough that the head of a tall sauropod is just about level with its buildings' lower rooms.
  • Great Ship: The tree-walkers in The Memory of Sky inhabit the trees that grow from the ceiling of the world, and use zeppelins for travel. Trees eventually have to be evacuated, as their roots can give away with age, causing them to plummet towards the floor of the world — into the corona's realm.
  • Green-Sky Trilogy: The Kindar keep their entire civilization up in the massive Grund trees, and are forbidden from walking on the forest floor because of lurking monsters. Some Kindar, particularly infants who fall, but even adults, can be caught unaware and are never seen again. The monster part isn't true. The real reason is so that the Kindar don't run into people the Ol-Zhaan priesthood exiled — and the descendants of those exiled or fallen.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: The Tayledras live in treehouses called ekele.
  • Last and First Men: The sapient monkeys who coexist with the Second Men live in woven cities built into the treetops of tropical forests.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Many buildings in Lothlórien are built on top of circular platforms, known as flets, which wrap around the trunks of the mallorn trees and are only reachable by rope ladder. While most of the ones around the edges of the forest are simply watch-posts, the city of Caras Galadhon is built almost entirely on top of such flets, with the largest of all supporting the house where Galadriel and Celeborn live.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: Trehaug is an entire city made of tree houses and inhabited by homebound intrepid merchants. It's a veritable maze of gangways, ladders and circular rooms built on platforms around tree trunks, and the houses in its upper layers hang from their supports for lack of stout branches to stand on. This is because right underneath Trehaug there's an ancient Elderling city that's been buried by some past cataclysm and the Rain Wild River, the waters of which are caustic and flood the forest yearly, runs right beside it. The Rain Wilders spend their time uncovering the Elderling city and plundering its magical artefacts, a good part of which goes towards keeping Trehaug functioning.
  • Robin Hood and his merry men live in the canopy of Sherwood Forest in some versions of their tales.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson: Just one housing unit, but the titular family eventually buidst a giant treehouse to be their home.
  • Titan's Forest: The city-kingdom of Canopy is built entirely with the topmost parts of the immense forest that covers the world. Dwellings are cut directly within the trees' trunks and branches or magically grown like immense burls, roads follow massive intertwined branches grown and shaped by the god of wood, and gaps are crossed by swaying rope bridges or ladders woven from lianas. The enclaves of its living gods are built in the forest's immense emergent trees, their tops lopped off to hold basins of earth and larger buildings.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Human, elven and other tribes that live in the Woods tend to stay in hidden settlements built into the canopies, accessing the ground through retractable rope ladders, training birds, and trying to keep to their very private lives up in the boughs. Satyrs and nymphs, by contrast, are usually encountered on the ground.
  • Wings of Fire: The RainWing village is one, as you would expect from dragons adapted to living in the rainforest. Also counts as a Hidden Elf Village due to their isolationism.
  • Xandri Corelel: The Psittacans live on platforms near the jungle canopy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Malcolm in the Middle: A variation is shown. When Dewey is transferred out of the special education program, the other students run away from home because they need his leadership, since Dewey was the only one mentally capable of standing up to the teacher and getting what was needed from the school. They begin living in the neighborhood trees, and he's able to provide them with food and other amenities they need. The reason Dewey doesn't tell on them is because they blackmailed him into not saying anything, though when they get found out, their teacher heavily implies they will be severely punished when they get back to school, and Dewey gets himself brought back into the program to stand up for them.
  • Parallax: In the green Alternate Universe, Werrinup is built in the trees to protect the environment and keep the people safe from the Krellicks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • City of 7 Seraphs: The Silver Heights is a series of sprawling estates, vineyard and villas in the treetops of the Verge. Of elven and fey design, they do no harm to the trees from which they grow.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In most settings, wood elves prefer to live in cities hidden within the canopies of their home forests.
    • Dragonlance: The town of Solace was built in the boughs of huge trees as defence against goblin raiders. The only buildings on the ground are the stables (because you can't get horses to climb trees), the blacksmith's (because of the fire risk), and for a while, the Inn of the Last Home (which was pulled out of its tree by a dragon during the wars, but later restored).
    • Mystara: In The Elves of Alfheim, the Alfheim elves have various tree houses connected by ladders and catwalks. The "Sky City" area in Alfheim Town is a network of rope bridges and catwalks connecting "treeforts" in the huge Sentinel Trees. And then you also have the "you'll walk right under it and never notice" type of Wood Elf settlements everywhere.
    • Planescape: These are very common in Arborea and the Beastlands, two planes characterized by superlative wildernesses and large populations of elves and of arboreal and flying creatures.
      • Al Karak Elam-Jhankal is a city inhabited by winged elves — al karak elam, as they name themselves — built within the canopy of a towering forest in the Beastlands. The city is made out of platforms around the tree trunks, hanging rope bridges and buildings woven out of living branches, and is very extensive in order to accommodate its citizens' need to fly. The buildings are a mile off the ground at their lowest point, and the city can reach half a mile of vertical thickness. The elves share it with a number of flying creatures, including a great many birds and a colony of giant eagles.
      • The apelike beastmen of the Lost Plateau live in treetop villages, in order to protect themselves from the dinosaurs who rule the jungle floor.
      • Grandfather Oak, the largest and oldest tree in the plane of Arborea, is home to a large community of elves and treants who live in a village built on his branches and within immense knotholes in his trunk.
    • Dragon: In the first worked example setting in the "Dungeoncraft" column, the players' home base of Ironoak is built into the trees, in keeping with the concept that Aris is a world of forests. In the centre of town is a magic-powered elevator.
  • Exalted:
    • The peoples of the Eastern forests often live in villages built upon massive trees. The Haltans, native to the immense redwood forests of the Northeast, are the most notable example, and their entire civilization lives in cities built on platforms held among the trees' branches. The trees are large enough to hold multiple such platforms — some cities can be six layers deep — and an extensive system of raised bridges connects all settlements. Haltans can go their whole lives without touching the ground, which is good — their treaties with The Fair Folk give the latter free run of the ground but forbid them from hunting amidst the trees. Halta is also home to several beastmen and talking animals, most based on arboreal creatures such as monkeys and giant spiders or flying ones such as owls, hawks and bats.
    • Orak-Tau, a city within the Labyrinth in the Underworld, is a bizarre inversion. Rather than being built among tree branches, it's built within and hanging from a massive tangle of roots hanging from the ceiling of an immense cavern. Fittingly, it can be accessed by climbing into certain tree hollows in the East and heading down, among other methods.
    • Mount Kahikatea, an ancient city of the First Age, was a particularly unusual example. It was built on top of a three-mile-high kahikatea trees, which grew on top of and around one another to form a literal mountain of interlocked, living boughs. The city itself consisted of grand wooden palaces and buildings built on top of this collective canopy, alongside a maze of tunnels and chambers snaking among the branches, roots and trunks of the forest.
  • Mechanical Dream: Almost all of civilization lives amongst branches of giant trees. The trees not only provide most of the resources needed, but they also act as a buffer against the titan-sized predators that inhabit the game's world.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The grippli are a species of humanoid tree frogs who build their towns high in the canopies of rainforests, hiding them in the deepest, most impassable thickets and getting about through thin rope bridges and their innate climbing skills.
    • The Mualijae elves of the Mwangi jungles often live in cities built on platforms perched on top of the highest rainforest trees, each large enough to hold several houses and connected to the others by long bridges.
    • The arboreal monkey goblins of Meidogalti Island live in Ganda-Uj, a ramshackle collection of huts, platforms and bridges hanging from the jungle trees.
    • Selona, a city in the First World of the fey, is built entirely in the canopy of Usu, a single tree of immense size. Its university district is built within a massive hollowed-out bole, while a formerly posh district was turned to ruins when a lightning strike set a part of the tree aflame.
  • Rifts: Millenium Trees are trees over a thousand feet in height which naturally grow giant burls subdivided into internal floors (between three and sixteen) and with naturally perforated walls. These readily serve as habitable apartment complexes with a little preparation, and as an individual plant can grow around thirty or so burls most tree support sizable communities in their canopies.
  • Role Aids: The supplement "Giants" has a race of forest-loving giants, who live in a Treetop Town that moves.
  • The Strange: The Greeneyes of Mesozoica live predominantly in nest-like structures hidden in the jungle canopy.
  • Summerland: One of the survivor settlements, Treetops, was built as a series of treehouses high in the forest canopy after the Event. The locals use their height as protection against forest beasts.

  • BIONICLE: The village of Le-Koro, the home of the elemental tribe of Air, is located on wooden platforms built high on trees growing out of a jungle lake. The houses are even built of such materials and in such a way that they look more like large bee-hives made of branches and leaves.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum: Both elven cities of Qintarra and T'sen Ang are built on tree tops in the middle of a forest, but where Qintarra's are a vibrant green, T'sen Ang is grey and overcast (although Qintarra isn't exactly a utopia either, one of the quests there is to solve a murder case).
  • Breath of Fire IV: The Pabpab village is built atop trees, in order to raise it above the swamp below.
  • The Crystal Key: The Nehli people of Meribah live on the branches of enormous Monolith Trees. Even the Nehlis' houses are built from mushrooms that grow on the branches.
  • Dark Parables: In The Red Riding Hood Sisters, the eponymous Sisterhood's headquarters is a series of large, elaborate treehouses connected by bridges. The next game in the series reveals that it was actually designed by Pinocchio's father Geppetto.
  • Donkey Kong Country: The Trope Namer is a level in the third world (Vine Valley) and one of the two levels in this setting. The Kongs travel among the trees, crossing rope bridges and platforms. The instruction manual even lampshades how empty the tree houses are.
  • EverQuest: The wood elf city of Kelethin is this, complete with a lack of railings on the platforms and bridges and numerous newbie corpses littering the ground below.
  • Fallout 76: Multiple examples can be found in the Mire, a region of swampland covered by very thick plant growth.
    • Tanagra Town is essentially a giant clod of rock, dirt and junk that's been ripped from the ground and lifted into the air by huge vines.
    • Treehouse Village is a collection of treehouses, each built on its own platform in the branches of a different tree. It was originally built by a group of survivors to have somewhere safe to live above and hidden from the mutated creatures of the Mire and the raiders periodically coming down from the nearby mountains. It was eventually discovered and abandoned, but was reclaimed sometime before the game's start and is inhabited again.
    • Treetops consist of a number of sets of platforms and stairways spiraling up several large trees, and like Treehouse Village was built by a group of isolated survivors seeking to avoid the many dangers of the Mire. Unlike the former, however, it's long abandoned.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy XII, the Viera live in a tree town, though it doesn't seem to be quite as high as the tops. The town square somehow has a small fountain at the center despite being suspended high above the forest floor.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: Muscadet is one of these, with the whole town being built on platforms over the top of the canopy, as evidenced by the leaves sticking out beneath.
  • The Forest: This is an option for player bases. There are special platforms that can be built around tree trunks, which can in turn have other things built on top of them. Ropes can hang down from them, and they can be connected to each other by hanging bridges. They make reasonably defensible areas against the Forest's natives, although some mutants can knock over trees.
  • Hype: The Time Quest: The brigands' village is hidden within the treetops in the forest. It consists of several wooden cabins linked by rope bridges.
  • The Jungle Book: The Licensed Game has the Tree Village, which serves as the sixth level of the game. There are huts in it that take Mowgli to a different one when he goes inside them. The boss of the stage is the Witch Doctor, which is actually three monkeys standing on top of each other with a large shield in front of them.
  • Klonoa: Door to Phantomile: The Forest Kingdom of Forlock is a series of platforms built on trees so high up that it's impossible to see the ground. The natives can jump incredibly high.
  • Kingdom Rush: The "Awoks" are a people resembling small furry humanoids who live in a village of simple huts built on the side of three giant trees within a large forest.
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms: Kyallisar isn't a tree-top town at all, but it does share a few characteristics with them (such as a large number of rope bridges). This is because it's built on a series of small, disconnected, rocky outcrops, with big chasms separating them. The topography created by this is much the same as if it were elevated in trees.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Myst:
    • The Channelwood Age a city of treehouses connected by bridges and water-pressure-powered elevators in a forest growing out of the ocean — it used to be an island, but a series of quakes sank it a long time ago. The ground the trees are growing from is in pieces and deep underwater.
    • Riven: The village in the Moiety Age is built in the boughs of a giant tree. There used to be a similar tree in Riven, but Gehn had it cut down.
  • NieR: Automata: The Machine Village, which is populated with robots who look a lot like the Mecha-Mooks you'd been slaughtering up to that point in the game, but want nothing more than to live in peace.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: Fortree City is made up of leaf-roofed huts built on platforms in the trees, connected by wooden bridges and reachable by ladder. This is taken to new heights (literally) in the Pokémon Adventures manga, where Sapphire and Winona have their Gym battle in the city proper rather than an actual Gym.
  • Puzzle & Dragons X: Libria, the city of wood, is built over the treetops on boardwalks with the largest buildings being built into the tallest trees and connected by stairs.
  • Spyro the Dragon (1998): The Tree Tops level is set on a highly-placed forest with trees, hilltops, and treehouses that can only be reached by using quick speed to jump off at the platform.
  • Strider (Arcade): The middle area in the Amazon stage of the original game features Hiryu jumping across swinging vines, avoiding poisonous mushrooms and thorned walls and reaching the village of the Amazons on top of the trees.
  • Sunless Skies: Titania is built in the bloom of a humongous flower.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: Little Fungitown is a variant — it's a town built on top of giant mushrooms.
    • Mario Kart 8: The Wild Woods stage takes place through a village inhabited by Shy Guys and built inside and upon an immense tree.
    • Super Mario Fusion Revival has World 5-7: Yolkfolk Village. This level is based on the Dizzy series of video games, made by Codemasters in the late 1980's to early 1990's. There is very little solid ground, and the main means of traversing this level is by rail lifts.
  • Wizardry: In Wizardry 8, Trynton, home of the Trynnie, is an über-example of the Treetop Town: seven "boughs" (varying areas), with one of the boughs being infested by the Rattkin.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Arakkoa villages are textbook examples: ground access is via a winding staircase within the tree, and most inhabitants live on interconnected platforms on top of the strongest branches.
    • Darnassus, the Night Elven capital city is built on top of the giant tree Teldrassil, but is fairly level and has streets and stone structures.
    • Troll villages, like Zabra'jin, are on the ground but are constructed out of wood and have rope bridges connecting the upper floors.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Frontier Village, a treetop village literally within a tree.

  • Crimson Flag: The gray Reyn mostly live in tree houses scattered through the Auberwood, with no towns or cities. The exception is the Relran Tree, a collection of stone keeps and towers built in the boughs of a single massive plant.
  • Drive (Dave Kellett): The rhinn, a species of diminutive aliens native to the planet Ashteet, live in houses built in the treetops of the forests that cover their world.
  • Quest of Camelittle: Elfdust City is a magical Tree Top Town hidden within the Elven Forest.
  • Slightly Damned has the Tree of Peace which is so massive it has smaller trees in its branches, these trees once housed a large village of jakkai but they all left to found the city of St. Curtis around the roots and now the abandoned village has been consumed by nature.
  • Yokoka's Quest: Everyone in Betel's Forest lives in treehouses (aside from Betelgeuse as she's too big), with some at ground level and others among the branches. There are steps between the levels, though Yokoka herself jumps down or climbs up the trees instead.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien: All the lemurs in Julien's kingdom live in treehouses.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Jet and his freedom fighters live in a treetop village in order to hide from the Fire Nation's soldiers.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: The timbercats live in a town built directly into the trunks of sequoia-like trees, carved to resemble giant cat trees.
  • Monchhichis: The titular creatures live in a treetop kingdom.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The griffon city of Griffonstone resembles a collection birdhouses and nests built among the roots and perched on the branches of an immense dead tree rooted on a mountain peak.
    • The hippogriffs of Mount Aris live within enormous living trees, with doors at their bases, windows spiraling up their trunks and large, glass-sided chambers nested in the canopies, their walls growing directly from the trunks.
    • A significant portion of the kirin's village consists of treehouses built high in the boughs of their forest and connected by rope bridges.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart thinks he and his friends can build one when they get trapped on an island, but it turns out it's hard to do so they go all Lord of the Flies instead.
    • When the Simpsons go to Africa, their hotel is in the trees easily twenty feet in the air.
  • Thunder Cats: The Treetop Kingdom. It is a society that is composed entirely of Amazonian women, also known as Warrior Maidens. Queen Willa is the ruler of the Treetop Kingdom.
  • Work It Out Wombats! takes place in a treehouse apartment complex known as a "Treeborhood."

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


MK8 Wild Woods

A race track that takes place in a forest with wooden platforms and Shy Guys.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / TreetopTown

Media sources: